Two contributions this time from NDRC founder member, and regular competitor today, Steve Collins. Steve has supplied a wealth of material for this site for which I am extremely grateful.
Neighbours from hell
When the NDRC started out it had very little equipment of its own for 'away' meetings. Timing gear could be hired but starting had to be by flags because nobody had a portable tree. This was one of the first bits of kit we needed.
The late Tony Anderson (the original builder of Russ Carpenter's Glacier Grenade) kindly built the electronics to drive it but the tree itself was built up in Alan Wigmore's (another one no longer with us, this is getting depressing!) garage in Stanmore. In the best drag racing tradition, we didn't start wiring up the thing up until the friday night before the first practice day we'd arranged (April/May 1971?) Needless to say it took longer than expected, especially when we wired up the Ambers in the wrong sequence. Work had to stop at about 3a.m. on the Saturday morning when one of Alan's neighbours started to get very irate because of all the Amber, Green and Red lights that were continually flashing outside his bedroom window!
Out of a clear Blue sky.
I think most people have seen what happened when Eddie Kidd tried to jump over a dragster at Avon Park but are there any old timers out there who remember when we ran a pair of dragsters UNDER a Sky Diving Display Team!
The occasion was one of the Silverstone meetings in 73/4. The Sky Divers were due to drop in during the lunch break but nobody told them to check that we had finished before jumping.
True to form we were running a bit late (Silverstone's noise curfew meant a very tight schedule) so qualifying was still going on. The first we knew about it on the start line was when one of the other marshalls ran over and pointed out these guys gliding down a couple of hundred feet above us. ( I don't think the commentators saw them either so the whole thing was a bit of a waste because nobody was watching the free fall bit). By this time a pair of dragsters were just going into stage. Stopping them and getting them back to the lanes to be push started again would have held things up even more so after a quick check on the rate of descent, we decided to run them anyway. The drivers were a bit dubious and probably ran quicker as a result but the only way there would have been a problem was if a parachute had suddenly collapsed. In that case colliding with a car would have been the least of our guest's problems!
By coincidence I found these pictures of the above incident in my brother Mikes photo collection. Not stunning pictures I know but the one on the left clearly shows a number of members of the "Lets go to a drag race and stand about with our hands on our hips" club. -Chris